Admiral Burke, Ambassador Nelson, distinguished members of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s defense institutions, and many other friends... good morning and what a sincere pleasure it is to be with you all. Admiral Burke, first of all, I want to express my gratitude to you for providing the opportunity to stand here today as the next Commander of NATO Headquarters Sarajevo. I would be remiss if I did not also acknowledge the senior leaders who endorsed me for this assignment. LTG Jody Daniels, Chief of the United States Army Reserve; LTG Roger Cloutier, Commander, NATO LANDCOM; MG Andy Rohling, Commander, Southern European Task Force and US Army Africa; and many other leaders who invested their wisdom, time, and confidence over the years. Among the many distinguished guests joining us online today are two former NHQ-Sarajevo Commanders, MG (Retired) Walt Lord and MG Marti Bissell. Welcome, one and all.
I can’t tell you how humbled I am to embrace this awesome responsibility; to lead this mission; and follow in the footsteps of BG Bill Edwards. It is said, the mark of a great organization is a solid transition from one leadership team to the next. Bill, in front of everyone, I sincerely thank you for the gifts of your time, energy, and commitment to make sure I felt welcome…as well as ready to take the controls today and build on the tremendous progress made under your leadership. I wish you nothing but the best of luck, and continued success, in your next assignment in Washington, DC.
You know, we serve because it’s who we are – we honor commitments and we fulfil our oaths to our nations… but no one stands alone or does this without the support of family. In my family, I must recognize my wonderful partner in life, Ember, for the grace of her steadfast support. When this assignment was offered, she gave her blessing without hesitation even though it meant a third year apart – so honey, thank you. To my parents, thank you for your unwavering support over the years – you always encouraged me to look ahead and follow my dreams; and I promise you I won’t forget to call home.
To the men and women of NATO HQ Sarajevo, I am looking forward to supporting the invaluable work you are doing and I promise you nothing but 100% of my energy and attention to our joint endeavors.
To the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina, You should be proud of the progress that has been made in the 25 years since Dayton, and I look forward, with tremendous enthusiasm, to working with and partnering with BiH’s Armed Forces and institutions. Together, we can continue to build on the decades of progress, security and prosperity that Bosnia-Herzegovina’s partnership with NATO continues to bring.
The time has come to close my remarks. I am so very honored and happy to be on this outstanding team.